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Book review – Born a Crime

Book Title – Born a crime

Author – Trevor Noah
Publisher – Spiegel & Grau

No. Of pages – 282

Without any doubt, I would say that I have made the best possible start to my reading journey in 2022. In fact, ‘Born a crime’ by Trevor Noah is one of the top-most books I have ever read. (And happy that it was recommended to me by my daughter)

An undercurrent of respect and love for his feisty mother runs through the entire book and culminates in the hard-hitting final chapter. He knows and he appreciates the fact that it was his mother who actually moulded him right from his childhood to his adult life and made him what he is today. This is what takes the book to another level and sets it apart from other autobiographies.

Trevor Noah grabs the readers attention right from the beginning.

While he tells his own story, he manages to paint a stark picture of Apartheid of those times even though it was on its last legs. The machinations of the white man where he created enmity between the different linguistic tribes of Africa so that they remained subdued to foreign rule,  rings a bell near home. Also the fact that most black people were kept deliberately uneducated for the longest time and made to think that their indigenous culture was something to be ashamed of, you realize that same formula was used elsewhere as well, to promote forced colonization of huge populations across continents.

Reading this book was an exhilarating journey of understanding other cultures and the realization that though other cultures may appear strange or exotic from afar but the basic human emotions and characteristics are similar.

Yatindra Tawde

 

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Airavata Microblog hop

This blog post is part of the Airavata -1Microbloghop hosted by Meera V Barath

https://meerasoasis.com/airavata1-microblog-hop/

 

Author Name – Yatindra Tawde

Book Name – Airavata

Story Title – Little Gobu

 

Author Introduction –

 

Yatindra Tawde tried out writing posts on social media and that’s how his writing journey commenced. Encouraged with the feedback from his friends and family (aren’t they super supportive), he started his own blog  – https://itsmylife.net.in

Starting out with sharing his thoughts on different subjects in a humorous manner, he diversified into story writing. Winning a few events, he never looked back.

He has published his own e-book titled ‘Reflections of a blogger’ and his stories have been a part of ‘Hawk’s Nest’ , ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell’ , ‘Blood runs Cold’ and ‘Airavata’ anthologies.

Twitter handle – @tyatin4326

 

My experience with Airavata

I came to know about the plan by Pachyderm Tales and Mayaakatha, for a children’s book whose main protagonist was to be an Elephant. I had never attempted to write for children before, my past forays in writing stories being mainly humour or horror. Thus was born my first attempt at a children’s story.

Since the project was going to be titled ‘Airavata’, I decided that my protagonist would be an elephant from present day India.

When one thinks of an Elephant nowadays, the first thought that comes to mind is the repeated encounter that happens between elephant and man due to continuous encroachment of human habitation into fast depleting jungles. So I decided to set my story on one such encounter. I had also seen umpteen videos on social media of baby elephants having fun. Thus my main protagonist, ‘Little Gobu’ was born. Giving free reign to my imagination, I weaved a story around Little Gobu and his protective herd of female elephants.

Buy your copy of the Airavata book here

 

#AiravataAnthology #Airavata1microbloghop #StoriesWithMayakatha #PachydermTales #UkiyotoPublishers

 

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Blood Runs Cold – an E-book introduction

The Hive is live with its second offering “Blood Runs Cold”

It contains seventeen edge-of-the-seat thriller stories written by seventeen authors. -Ratnakar Baggi, Varadharajan Ramesh, Tina Sequeira, Sarves, Rashmi Agrawal, Srivalli Rekha Mantrala, Anshu Bhojnagarwala, Priya Bajpai, Sreeparna Sen, Christopher Dsouza, Aradhna Shukla, Ell P, Kanika G, Sheerin Shahab, Pranav Kodial, Pavan Kumar and Yours truly.💛💛

The efforts are being noticed and appreciated by well-established and well-respected writers like Neil D’Silva and Damyanti Biswas who have written the forewords for ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell’ and ‘Blood Runs Cold’ respectively.

With diverse voices on board each story has something for the readers.

Grab your copy of ‘BLOOD RUNS COLD’ from here:

http://mybook.to/BloodRunsCold

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Coming soon…a Thriller anthology you will love

#Project3 #TitleReveal #BookCoverReveal

Hi all, 

I am a contributing writer in this exciting venture by The Hive.

The Hive is a non-traditional publishing collective. The first anthology was Route 13: Highway to Hell, a horror anthology. 

The anthology experienced tremendous success. More than 200 copies were consumed by eager readers. It might seem like a small number, but it’s not. In the world of self-publishing, these are great numbers, especially for a brand new entity like The Hive. Route 13 topped the horror charts on Amazon new releases for a whopping 6 weeks in a row and remained in top 3 for more than 12.   

Now, The Hive launched #Project3. They invited submissions and nearly 50 entries were received.

All the entries were subjected to a stringent two-round selection process and SEVENTEEN stories were selected to be part of #Project3. I am elated that my story is a part of this exciting anthology.

#Project3 is ‘An Anthology to Thrill,’ and the seventeen stories are going to do exactly that – thrill you, the readers. It has stories about scorned lovers, devious criminals, supercops, sleuths, violence, blood, danger, suspense and, murder. You are going to enjoy this. 

Delighted and proud to present to you the title, cover and release date of #Project3. 

                        BLOOD RUNS COLD 

                    Book Release: 17/07/2020

Why July 17th? Well, it is a very significant day for crime and mystery. 

1. The Romanov family were murdered

2. Erle Stanley Gardner, author of Perry Mason, was born on that day

3. The 100-year war ended with the battle of Castille

4. July 17th is the Day of International Criminal Justice. 

I hope ‘Blood Runs Cold’ gets the same support and love which ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell.’ enjoyed. 

Enjoy!

Yatindra Tawde

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Hampi, Anegundi, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami Part 2

Day 3

After an exhausting day in Hampi, we decided to take it easy the next day. This decided our destination for the day, which was Anegundi. Anegundi is nearby, @  20 km. from Hampi instead of another exhausting drive to Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami, which involved lot of travel.

Instead of breakfast in the resort itself, we opted for a light one outside. So the driver took us to the same garden restaurant where we had lunch the previous day. While my wife had a simple sada dosa, I had Mysore masala dosa which was totally different from the one available in Mumbai and so mouth-watering.

Once the breakfast was done, we were on the way to Anegundi. We passed through the very common landscape of Hampi and it’s surroundings, the boulder strewn countryside with small, green fields sprinkled in between. These are the rice plantations interspersed with the banana ones.

 

For those who don’t know, Anegundi or Anegondi is the Kishkindha of Ramayana. Kishkindha was the capital of Vali, the Monkey King and his brother Sugreeva, who helped locate Maa Sita for Shri Ram.

 

We reached our first destination, the  Anjanadri hill. A small, whitewashed temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is perched on the summit. The Anjanadri hill is a hill of huge boulders piled on top of each other. The driver told us that there are more than 550 steps to the top which seemed to be a daunting task. But we decided to brave it and were on the way.

 

It’s a relief that most of the initial climb is under covers, as there is a roof constructed over the stairs. But once you have crossed 1/3rd of the way, you are climbing under the direct sunlight and the steps become steeper. It is not for those with bad knees. We were apprehensive on this point, but thankfully our knees held up.

 

As one climbs higher and higher, the view below gets more enchanting, a chequered vista of green and brown, green of the rice fields and brown of the boulders.

 

So we proceeded with regular halts to catch our breath. I noticed one thing. When there are many people doing the same thing; here, climbing and halting to catch their breath, an unknown bond is formed with the fellow climbers, smiles are exchanged, they tell each other, where they come from, their immediate travel plans, etc.

Just before the last few steps to the top, you have to bend more than half of your body height to pass underneath a huge boulder which almost bars you from proceeding further. It’s as if the penultimate bow before the Lord before you are welcomed into his presence.P_20200306_113744

We left our footwear with an aged person who seemed to be appointed for just that. Since the month of March is not in the usual tourist season, there was not much of a crowd. 

We were soon inside the Hanuman Mandir. We had darshan and sat inside, meditating before the Lord. It’s a small mandir and the space inside is enough for just a handful of devotees. 

After 15-20 minutes of silent contemplation, we emerged outside to have a look at the surrounding landscape. And were we zapped with the beauty of the fields below!

If that is not enough, tall coconut trees line the green fields and narrow canals and lazy roads meander through them.

 

After spending about an hour and a half on the top, we started our descent. During the descent, the topmost steps were comparatively difficult due to the step height. But once we reached the covered steps, the final descent was a breeze.

When we reached at the bottom, we were surprised to see a lady hawker of bananas talking to the monkeys who surrounded her. Though we didn’t understand the language, we were sure she was admonishing them for being boisterous and naughty.

Talking of being boisterous, we were certainly not, after the vigorous exercise of the last 3 hours. Our battery was down and our driver wanted us to climb another small hill to go to another temple. We declined politely, praying before the hill with folded hands.

Next, he took us to the Laxmi mandir located on the bank of Pampa Sarovar. Pampa Sarovar is a small lake which is considered to be one of the holy lakes in India. It attracts a large number of pilgrims as well as tourists throughout the year.

It finds a mention in the Ramayana too as Lord Ram and his brother, Laxmana had passed through during their quest for Sita. It is the same place where Shabari waited with the berries to meet Lord Ram. 

Though we didn’t witness it, Pampa Sarovar becomes very picturesque during the season of lotus bloom, with the whole lake being filled with lotus buds.

The priest of the Laxmi temple was a Maharashtrian from the holy place of Pandharpur and we were pleasantly surprised when he started talking to us in Marathi as soon as he saw us enter. I was surprised and asked him how he knew that we too were Maharashtrians. He just smiled mystically and proceeded with his prayers.

Once we left from there we were feeling hungry and tired. We had lunch at the garden restaurant and then decided to rest at the resort in the afternoon.

After the siesta, my wife was still feeling exhausted so I proceeded alone, this time to the Tungabhadra dam. 

The Karnataka Government has made excellent arrangements for the tourists. They arrange regular bus trips to the top of the hill, which flanks the dam and also to a beautiful garden.

Once I got off from the bus, the silvery rays of the setting Sun, reflecting from the dam waters welcomed me.

The panoramic view from above gives a bird’s eye view of the surrounding plains. One can see many water canals below, taking the water to far off places. After spending about 45 minutes on the hilltop, I made my way back. I skipped the garden as I was alone and then returned back to the resort.

 

Thus ended the day. The next day was another day of long car rides and walking.

Yatindra Tawde

 

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Hiraeth – A book review

The first image that captures your attention is the apt artistic rendition of the message the author wants to convey. The tree symbolises the Indian subcontinent, rooted in the same culture but the ripped apart into two countries by a sudden cataclysmic event.

As you read the stories, you are drawn into the lives of ordinary human beings, pushed into facing sudden extraordinary circumstances.

If there are obnoxiously creepy individuals, trying to take undue advantage of unfortunate situations, there are people who have not lost their humanity in the face of the difficult times.

If there are people who lost their sanity, there are individuals who clung to some hope even in those trying times.

But finally these are heart rending stories of the common man whose destiny was so mercilessly turned upside down by fickle politicians looking for their self-aggrandizement.

As you read the stories, you cannot but admire the high level of research, the author, Dr. Shivani Salil, must have undertaken to meet such affected individuals and families who were caught in the turmoil of that unfortunate event of partition of a great country on the basis of religion.

I recommend this book for all those who were far removed from this page of history, especially the young generation which is separated by the many decades of freedom.

Yatindra Tawde

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The Bus

As man evolved, he understood that, compared to other animals, he was a weakling. This was apparent on his various hunting expeditions to provide food for his dependents.

In addition to many other parameters, he lacked in speed. Most of the time, his prey galloped away or ran away, and he was left panting by the wayside.

Thus his need to domesticate various other animals like the horse to gain speed. This was his preferred means of transport, whenever he needed to travel faster, till the industrial revolution, when mechanised vehicles were introduced in the form of cars.

But these cars ran on petrol or diesel which were in short supply, hence expensive.

He felt the need to transport a larger number of people at a time and thus a bus was born. Though it ran on the same expensive fuel, the higher numbers it carried made it economical. But this dependence on buses and cars for faster travelling meant burning of the highly polluting fuels which became one of the major factors of global warming.

Thus started the search for cleaner and inexpensive energy sources.

Electrical energy is cleaner and today it is taking baby steps towards electric cars but there are other cheaper energy sources too, on which buses and cars can run. Like CNG, LPG, etc. but man is never satisfied.

Which brings us to the news which I read today.

It seems UK has taken a very important step where they have test driven a bus run by poo.

Poo, did I say!

Coming to think of it, it certainly would be inexpensive as it gets generated regularly, mostly every morning. Of course, there are those unique specimens who generate it untimely. And then there are few who fall ill and cannot hold it in and have to rush to generate.

There are enough species who do this extremely important social work day in and day out and contribute to reducing the global warming. My salutations to the scientists who conceived this unique energy source, based on methane conversion.

The day is not far, when this poo generation takes the form of an industry where various species are lined together every morning to generate energy for the ever growing vehicle numbers.

Already I see the importance of certain middle Eastern countries going down and corresponding elevation of another country which already has such an industry lining the huge network of railway tracks all across the length and breadth of its vast geography. It just needs to be tapped and exploited in a proper way.

Yatindra Tawde

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The Legend of the Egg

It’s said that Social Media is a world of’likes’ and’dislikes’. But in this world, these words are in their sillier avatar.

But that is expected to happen when people can socialize only by ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’. Nowadays ‘likes’ have taken the form of ‘love’ which is denoted by a red heart. Whereas ‘dislike’ has taken an ugly turn in the form of ‘troll’.

But today we will concentrate on’likes’ since recently it was in the news.

A puny brown egg; yes brown, for the racially sensitive, managed to dethrone the current queen of social media, on one of the social apps.

Now, anyone would wonder how can people like a photo of a humble egg, that too in such large numbers. After all, it is meant for creating a life or feeding someone. Why would anyone give it so much importance?

This Eggegend; that’s my word for the egg legend, it gave me sleepless nights. And a depleted breakfast, as I couldn’t bring myself to cannibalize a legend in the making, or rather a legend already made.

So my research started and where did I roam on the big, bad Earth for doing this research?

Nothing like what you would imagine.

I spread myself on my sofa after eating an eggless cake, which served two purposes. One, I was eating an vegetarian snack and second, I was respecting a legend.

While I lazed on the sofa, my mind was concentrated on the search engines which chugged across the pad screen.

And lo and behold!

There was this story of an Indian teenager who was the mastermind of this whole saga. And this was a proud moment for patriotic me.

This is his story –

He clicked an enticing photo of the brown egg, which did all the hard work of posturing before a DSLR camera. The teenager too, did not leave any egg…er… stone unturned, to capture the historic moment on camera. With just the right lighting and innumerable captures.

Finally he was ready to challenge the reigning queen.

The next step was to share his invaluable capture on the same photo sharing app, the fiefdom of the Queen.

And then the masterstroke!

Appeal to the empathetic feelings of the people; their propensity to support the underdog. So the photograph was captioned, ‘Let’s make the Egg the most liked on this app and challenge the reigning Queen!’. And the public did the rest.

And the rest is history.

Today this photograph is the most liked after dethroning the Queen and still counting the likes.

All hail the Eggegend!

Yatindra Tawde

2 minute noodles…a recipe for divorce

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so goes an old saying. After the first flush of love…nay, after the first lust of love is over, what remains is how a couple look after their roost. While the man is expected to master the intricacies of shopping and help about at home, he expects his wife to look after their children as well as the child in him. Cooking delicious meals for the family is a part of the essential skills which a woman should possess. Of course, nowadays she is also expected to add to the family coffers by going out to work. That’s why women are the goddesses of multitasking.  But that is subject for another writeup.

A man married a suitable girl. She was a complete package, pleasant looks and good education. But what clinched the deal for him was the added information shared by his would-be father-in-law that she was a fast cook; that she could conjure up tasty meals within 2 minutes. Since he was a busy person he was impressed, now that he wouldn’t have to wait for the meals to be prepared.

On their first day together, after a night of frolicking under the sheets, she prepared the first meal, a breakfast in literally 2 minutes. A bowl of noodles! Being totally satiated in the night the man indulged his wife, thinking that she must be tired due to their antics. Then the fun began. A bowl of noodles followed for lunch and rounded off with yet another bowl of noodles for dinner.  And then the cycle continued every day.

Once the passion of early married life evaporated, the man was finally struck by realization. His wife was a one-trick pony. The secret of 2 minute meals was noodles and that’s all that she could prepare  to feed him.

Since she could no longer find a way to his heart through his stomach, he made his decision. He filed for a divorce. To his surprise and relief, the judge too believed in 2 minutes justice and the divorce was granted in a jiffy.

Last heard, the man is looking for a new wife and his only condition is for her to be a great cook serving a variety to the satisfaction of his culinary tastes.

Yatindra Tawde

 

They came, they saw…they burped

They arrived at the boundary.

This was the same area where their forefathers had frolicked through the wild foliage.

Now they saw nothing but a tall structure with small openings which the current dwellers referred to as windows and galleries. The couple was used to seeing the current dwellers, though similar in appearance but having colourful skins, in the pond premises nearby. The current dwellers were curious about them and fed them random food. And the couple and their friends welcomed these colourful dwellers due to easy availability of food.

However the couple was most curious about the tall structures and dreamed of raiding them.

Thus today they were at the boundary where they faced their first hurdle. Upon reaching the boundary 3-4 ferociously barking dogs welcomed them with a cacophonic chorus. But the couple wasn’t afraid for they had full confidence in their own gymnastic abilities. For, in no time, they had crossed their first hurdle, though it was hurtful to their ears.

The next hurdle was some tall dweller in drab skin, carrying a long stick. They teased him by flicking the cap over his head and then showing him their behind. As he ran behind them, the pipes on the tall structure came to their rescue and soon they had climbed to the fifth floor. For a brief while, they let their legs and tail dangle over the parapet and enjoyed the view of the pond, from that height. They had reached so high for the first time in their lives and one of them started having a vertigo induced swoon. He tried to grab hold of something and in his haste, managed to push a window open. That made his partner curious about the inside of the dwelling and he jumped up to look into the window.

He gestured his partner to come and have a look and both of them were itching to enter inside. This went on for a few moments when they looked inside and glanced at each other and then again looked inside.

When, for a longest time they saw no movement, one of them jumped inside with the other quickly following behind.

Their sharp nose and eager eyes darting across the room, quickly espied…FOOD!

MANGOES!

For the next few moments all hell broke loose as a lot of mangoes were consumed in a wild frenzy, the skin ripped off violently.

Soon they got tired of the dark, stuffy surrounding inside and made their way out of the same window, feeling the air flowing through their fur. They occupied their favourite space on the parapet and…burped.

Friends, that’s what happens when you live close to a wood. You never know which one of your wilderness friends would pay you an unwanted visit. It can be your tree dwelling cousins like the ones in the above story, sometimes it’s the turn of slithering serpents and rarely the graceful cats come looking for street dogs.

The human species experiences such hair-rasing events all across the world with the boundaries getting blurred on an increasing basis.

Yatindra Tawde

A cultured job

The quartet reached the planned destination for the night. While they were fully prepared with all the paraphernalia required for the job, they had also readied the other equally important kit.

Two of them stood on the road, facing in opposite directions. They were the lookouts, whose job was to warn of any upcoming dangers, while the other two took out the lock cutter. With a mighty heave the lock was broken and no one had seen them do it. Taking that as a sign of good luck, they thanked themselves on thinking about the Almighty before embarking on a new task. Surely, He was the one who had manipulated the stars in their favour.

The shutter was opened and with a quick glance in all directions, all four rushed inside, pulling the shutter down behind them. Sitting down with their heads bowed, they uttered a quick prayer. One of them reached into the rucksack they had brought and out came a photograph of a deity which was placed on a desk, with great reverence. Then, out came a spear, a lock cutter, keys, and assortment of other equipment. These were placed before the deity’s photo. Then another reached into his pockets and out came agarbatti, matchsticks, etc. The agarbatti was tucked into the holder, the dhoop was lighted and they started praying in unison. After applying tikka on each other’s forehead, they prostrated themselves in front of the deity.

Once the blessings were taken, they finally got down to do the job at hand.

The next morning, the owner of the financial institution bent down to open the shutters, he got the shock of his life. For, the locks outside were broken. Upon going inside he found the lockers open and gold and cash was gone. In front of the lockers a moustachioed deity smiled back at him from a photo. A spear kept on a desk pointed at him menacingly. A paper lay on the desk. “Don’t try to find me. It won’t be good”, it said. With shaking, sweating palms,  the owner reached for the telephone. “Hello, Police”.

Friends, this isn’t my imagination working on overdrive. It happens only in India, where before commencing any work, we bow before the Almighty. It seems, the robbers were very culturally informed, if not anything else. Last known, they are yet to be traced.

Yatindra Tawde

Valuable Coins

I come from an era when 5 paisa coins used to fetch a few candies in my childhood. Coins ranging from 1 paisa to Rs. 1 were always lying in a small purse in the Godrej cupboard. Come the 90’s and coins upto 25 paise started disappearing from circulation. 50 paise coins met the same fate in 2000’s. Come 2022 and there are all indications that the time is up for 1 rupee coins. How wrong I was.

State of Tamil Nadu. City Salem.

A van drives into the compound of a high end bike showroom. A man gets off the van and enters the showroom. He meets the salesman and selects his dream bike. A bank agent stationed in the showroom approaches our man, offering a loan. Our man brushes him off, saying that he would buy the bike with his hard earned cash in one go. The happy salesman guides our man to the cash counter. Our man makes his offer. The cashier’s jaw drops to the floor. So does the salesman’s.
No way, they say.
It’s my way or the highway says our man.
The Manager has a word with our man. Then he relents. For the first time since he came into the showroom, our man smiles. He shouts for his friends. The friends get down from the van; one opens the van door. A wheelbarrow comes out. Two other friends start loading it. With 1 rupee coins. There are thousands, nay, lacs of coins and they are unending. Finally the van is emptied.
The store Manager is sweating. He deputes one cashier…then another. Then he requests our man and his friends to help. They oblige. That way, our man is quite considerate.
Thus, our man made news with his unique purchase and made a viral YouTube video as an added bonus.

Yatindra Tawde
 

Tilottama at a glance – a book review

Book Title – Tilottama at a glance

Author – Sreeparna Sen

Publisher – Ukiyoto Publishing

No. Of pages – 68

Contrary to whatever you might expect when you read the book title, ‘Tilottama at a glance’ takes you on a journey through one of the metros of India, Kolkata. Those who have stayed in this once laid-back city, are bound to feel nostalgic reading about all the cultural icons and landmarks which are interspersed throughout this delightful book. Those who have had the opportunity to visit the city on work related or leisure trips, like yours truly, would have a feeling of deja vu. The book is short and sweet but the author manages to give dollops of information on many cultural aspects of a much loved city in the most charming language.

I am sure, once you have read ‘Tilottama at a glance’, you would be itching to visit Kolkata to experience its hospitality first hand.

Yatindra Tawde

Mee Vasantrao – a movie review

Mee Vasantrao’ is an amazing Marathi language movie. It’s a biopic of legendary Marathi singer, Vasantrao Deshpande who created a place for himself in the minds and hearts of Marathi music aficionados quite late in his life, when he was in 40’s.

Rahul Deshpande, grandson of Vasantrao Deshpande plays his grandfather’s role with aplomb. An excellent classical singer in his own right, Rahul doesn’t disappoint when it comes to acting. I had always thought that he had taken to acting as a hobby, taking acting roles which gave full scope to his unparalleled singing talent. How wrong I was! He has lived the role of his grandfather; I would go so far as to say that this is his career defining role. While he has acted well throughout, two moments in the movie really stood out for me; his heated exchange with traditional music purists in Pune and his take on the art of Baithakichi lavani.

If Rahul Deshpande impresses, Anita Date, who has played the role of Vasantrao’s mother, deserves awards galore for playing the role of a feisty, strong willed woman raising a child singlehandedly, with grace and confidence. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that she is the soul of this movie.

Pushkaraj Chirputkar, who plays the role of Vasantrao’s best friend, P. L. Deshpande or Pula, for short, is a surprise package. Playing the role of an extremely loved and respected personality in all Maharastrian households is no mean feat. Pula was known for his perfect comic timing and Pushkaraj has captured this nuance perfectly.

Amey Wagh, playing the brief role of Shri Dinanath Mangeshkar and Alok Rajwade, playing the role of Mama (maternal uncle) of Vasantrao, convince you that the future of Marathi cinema is in good hands.

I don’t remember the name of the actress who plays a veteran lavani singer, but she too manages to grab attention of the viewers in the briefest of roles.

The Direction of Nipun Dharmadhikari is top-notch. Whether it is perfect casting (note Durga Jasraj playing the role of Begum Akhtar) or the apt locales and wada’s/neighbourhoods, he captures the old world charm beautifully. Also note the frames, the play of light and dark, throughout the film and especially during the lavani scene. Mark my words, if one goes by this movie, Nipun Dharmadhikari is destined for future glory as a Director.

Don’t miss this movie if you love meaningful cinema.

Yatindra Tawde

Glossary :

Lavani– lavani sung and enacted before a larger audience in a theatrical atmosphere is phadachi lavani

Baithakichi lavani- a lavani sung a private and select audience is baithakichi lavani

Photo credits – Jio Studios, Viacom18 Studios

Book review – In the Footsteps of Rama

Book Title – In the footsteps of Rama, Travels with the Ramayana

Author – Vikrant Pande, Neelesh Kulkarni

Publisher – HarperCollins Publishers, India

No. Of pages – 255

Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two Indian Itihasa’s, are the most loved epics across continents. Ramayana is considered to be older of the two.

Elders narrate these two epics to Indian children, in the most simple language. The same has been the case with me. In addition to hearing the stories from elders, I loved reading these stories in Amar Chitra Katha, an almanac of ancient and pre-independence Indian stories. I have an obsession with these two epics and still enjoy reading different versions by different authors, with equal involvement and fervour.

With that introduction, when I heard about this book, ‘In the Footsteps of Rama, Travels with the Ramayana’, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. And by the end of it I was satisfied that I had made the right decision.

The authors, Vikrant and Neelesh,  embark on a journey which starts at Ayodhya and ends at Ayodhya, traversing the entire route followed by  Rama and Sita, accompanied by his loyal and protective brother, Laxmana.

What makes this a memorable read is the inclusion of local folklore associated with The Ramayana, at each of the places they visit, showing how well Ramayana is ingrained into the common people’s consciousness across such a large geography, in India as well as Sri Lanka. While doing this, The Ramayana comes alive as a living legacy.

I am sure that this travelogue would motivate even those readers who might be unaware about the epic, to explore The Ramayana through the written word.

This enriching journey is highly recommended.

Yatindra Tawde

Book Review – The People Tree

Book Title – The People Tree


Author – Beetashok Chatterjee

Publisher – Readomania


I have read stories by Beetashok Chatterjee in the past so I was looking forward to his new offering, ‘The People Tree’. And I am happy to say that this new anthology is as good as his debut one, ‘Driftwood – Stories washed Ashore’. While ‘Driftwood’ dealt with seamen and their experiences, both good and bad, ‘The People Tree’ deals with the common man and his ordinary and some times, extraordinary life.


The stories take you all over the world and across time spans in their quest to peep into their lives and take you along on an unforgettable journey. While doing all this, the author etches some remarkable characters.


While the 14 stories offer something to ponder over, there are a few which stand out. For me, these were, ‘Ground Zero’, ‘A day at the races’, ‘The Holy Trinity’, ‘The Vintage Car Rally’ and ‘Two Close for comfort’.


So what are you waiting for? Rest and resuscitate yourself under ‘The People Tree’.


YatindraTawde

Book review – Memories – A Novella

 

Book Title – Memories – a Novella The hilarious nightmare of growing up.

Author – Soumya Mukherjee Publisher – Notion Press

No. Of pages – 142

Oh Boy!

What an amazing journey from childhood, through many adventures of youth and culminating with the realizations of old age narrated with dollops of humour.

Once you pick up the book, it’s very difficult to put it down, for, not only is it entertaining but also takes you on a nostalgic journey to your own childhood and youth. And if the reader has stayed in a hostel, he/she will find many parallels with their own life in college.

The author, Soumya Mukherjee has the God given gift of effortless humour which he uses to weave an unforgettable story.

And why did I start the review with ‘Oh Boy!’?

Well, read this Novella to find out.

Yatindra Tawde